Masculin, Feminin– BAGATSING, Mona

It was a very refreshing experience to watch Jean-Luc Godard’s Masculin, Feminin. Living in a generation such as mine, where pop culture seems to be the most dominant thread in society, I found myself appreciating how Godard’s film made me feel that, even though the social milieu may have changed between then and now, the essence of human experience remains the same.

Growing up, I have always found myself veering away from mainstream behavior, which may be the reason why I felt a certain kind of connection with Paul, the male protagonist of the story. His teenage angst and deviant behavior really reached out to me as I watched the film. I can relate to his struggle to make sense of the world around him. His awakening to so many things – his sexual desire towards Madeleine and his political views towards America and capitalism – reminds me of my very own questions in this day and age. These elements combined to make a very intriguing facet to the plot that made me want to get to know the characters more and see what they are thinking.

The way Godard depicted the budding romance between Paul and Madeleine was really unique, especially if put side-by-side with how directors do it now. For me, the story had a different kind of romanticism; it was more accessible and real. It didn’t have the kind of witty dialogue and cheesy scenes that is so prominent in Hollywood movies today, which is why I appreciated it a little more. Even though the cinematography had a certain grit and dullness to it that is, in my opinion, intrinsic to certain French films such as this one, I still liked the vibe because it added a sense of authority to the reality that Godard wanted to portray to his audience. I really appreciated how I was given a ticket to see what it was like in France during those times in such a raw presentation; it was devoid of the type of over-editing that I seriously hate in most films we have now. In fact, the film’s cinematography reminds me of Filipino independent films today, except that it isn’t as agonizingly long and dragging.

The way Godard deconstructed youth culture in the 60’s made me think of what it would be like if the same director had to do it again now. It was such a brave social commentary on Godard’s part. I am sure that it wasn’t commercially tasteful then, just as I am sure that the film still wouldn’t be commercially tasteful now, but I think it works because that’s exactly what Godard is trying to do. His film makes fun of its audience’s very Hollywood-fake sensibilities to show how commercial everything has become, which isn’t so different from Paul’s views as a French teenager who hates America.

This film is very representative of Godard’s political views during those times, and he injected it in the film in such a cavalier way that really made me smile a little. Maybe, filmmakers today should all take a lesson from Godard… and be a little less commercial.

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Brazil– BAGATSING, Mona

When I saw that the movie was entitled “Brazil” I was hooked right away and was looking forward to watching it because I thought it would be like in Brazil or like it would have something to do with the country, Brazil. I was kind of disappointed as the movie went on because it felt like I was sitting in class, watching a movie and waiting for something interesting or anything Brazil related to happen in the movie but I did not get anything but the song (haha).

Brazil is set “Somewhere in the 20th Century,” wherein the world is a giant bureaucratic mess, with everything requiring a form of some sort and everybody being watched over by the very Orwellian Ministry of Information. I felt bad for the people who were working at the Ministry of Information because it seems like they did not have privacy at all. It would suck to know that the Ministry of Information could invade their lives as much as they want to. In the middle of it all, Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) is trying very hard not to stand out in the crowd. He would always have these dreams in being a winged superhero. Later on, he is quickly drawn into a nightmare that he didn’t bargain for. Its funny how a bug in the system caused a Mr. Buttle to be arrested instead of a Mr. Tuttle (Robert DeNiro). Bugs as in insects are not usually found in computers, but in this movie the bugs caused the glitch in the system and eventually the start of the story. Normally, Sam wouldn’t care, but involved in the whole mess is Jill (Kim Greist), who looks exactly like the girl that he sees in his dreams. Soon, he’s becoming very noticeable trying to help her out, something the Ministry did not like but Sam still did everything that he could in order to find the woman who appears in his dreams.

Being the OC person that I am, what I liked most about the film was Sam’s priceless routine. He would have everything already made and ready the moment he wakes up, from his alarm clock, to his telephone, to his coffee maker, to his sandwich before he leaves for work but that one day where his routine was ruined, was also the same day that the glitch in the system was found. Maybe something new was really meant to happen that day because the moment he woke up, everything did not go according to plan already. I did not really hate Brazil but I did not like it either because I am not really fond of fantasy and sci-fi-ish movies. I think it was steady, I would surely watch it if it was for school but it would not be a movie that I will choose to watch when I am bored. Im just glad that I was able to sit in class and finish the movie. And oh, can I just say that I find Jill so bad ass with the car and her being the one who saves Sam all the time from the terrorists. Bad. Ass.

Inglourious Basterds– BAGATSING, Mona

I have never been really a fan of war films except for Pearl Harbor, which I consider as one of my favorite films. Seeing the movie Inglourious Basterds for the first time, I thought that it was a bit morbid especially the part wherein the Jewish American soldiers would cut the scalp of the Nazi’s. I found it really disturbing to the point that I had to cover my eyes on such scenes. Another part that I remember not watching is the scene where Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) carved a swastika into SS Col. Hans Landa’s (Christopher Waltz) forehead. I liked how the movie kept the viewers hooked and interested throughout even though it lasted for almost 2 hours and 30 minutes. While watching Inglourious Basterds I felt like everything I learned in History 18 (Western History) was made into a movie. I also felt like I was playing some Timezone game with all the guns especially in the last part where either Donny and/or Omar was shooting Adolf Hitler even if he was already dead. Even if it was a WWII film, I did not have a hard time liking it because of its European setting. I personally think that Europe is one of the most beautiful historic places in the world. I love how it is a place that holds so much history and it exposes us to a lot of different cultures. Another place that was mentioned in the movie that I remember is the Louvre, it is said to be the most visited art museum in the world and is another historic monument. It is amazing how after everything that Europe went through during the World War II; it still managed to look as beautiful as it looks today.

The director Quentin Tarantino is not an unfamiliar name to me because I have seen all his Kill Bill movies, I have read and watched some documentaries about him and critiques say the same thing about him—he never fails to be at the top of his career. With Inglourious Basterds its like he made his own ending to World War II, Quentin Tarantino divided the film into 4 chapters but they are all still somehow connected to each other. As Sir Ty said in class, it is like a movie within a movie. Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent) was one of the characters that caught my attention the most because her idea of inviting all the SS officers during the movie premiere and preparing explosive nitrate films while everyone is watching is just plain awesome. She was willing to sacrifice her cinema just so she can get back at the person who killed her family. I feel like with Shosanna seeking revenge for her family and eventually pulling it off shows how strong women are and what they are capable of doing. She seemed quiet but you can never really tell what was going on in her mind, if I knew her I would not think that she could pull off something similar to what she did in the movie. The movie was violent and morbid but it still managed to be exciting and fun to watch. I cant say that I really liked it because war films are not my “thing” but I would not mind watching it again.